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2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray Coupe – Catching Rays

12/15/2014 6:50:20 PM
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Is the Seventh Son still going to be America's favourite sports car?

At a recent SMMT event, Chevrolet had brought along their new baby, the C7 Corvette Stingray, to show the Euro journos that America is still building a world-class sports car. Or are they? I had about 15 minutes to find out.

Description: “Precision” isn’t just a word. For designers of the all-new 2014 Corvette Stingray, it was a mantra. Throwing off the constrains of tradition, our world-class engineers started over from scratch to build a revolutionary lightweight vehicle with the aesthetic impact and the performance prowess worthy of the Stingray Emblem.

“Precision” isn’t just a word. For designers of the all-new 2014 Corvette Stingray, it was a mantra. Throwing off the constrains of tradition, our world-class engineers started over from scratch to build a revolutionary lightweight vehicle with the aesthetic impact and the performance prowess worthy of the Stingray Emblem.

Dropping into the driver's seat of the plastic fantastic is not a job for the stiff of spine, but once you're in it's figure-huggingly comfortable... even for a figure like mine! The cockpit is tightly wrapped around the driver, and snicking the lever into first you feel less like a driver than a pilot. This feeling is reinforced as the mildest tickle of the throttle brings the speed up at an alarming rate. It goes exactly where you point it, and feels as planted as it's possible to feel.

Get out on the open track and it's a whole new sensation, though. The heads-up display is perfectly positioned to be readable without being intrusive, and 80mph feels like 20mph.

Description: The standard GT seat begins with a lightweight magnesium frame and cradles the driver for optimal comfort and support. Precision hand-stitching hugs each and every contour. The 3LT trim level offers Grade A Nappa leather and available sueded-microfiber inserts.

The standard GT seat begins with a lightweight magnesium frame and cradles the driver for optimal comfort and support. Precision hand-stitching hugs each and every contour. The 3LT trim level offers Grade A Nappa leather and available sueded-microfiber inserts.

The seven-speed gearbox is another revelation. Fourth is a direct, 1:1 ratio and fifth to seventh are all overdrive gears, so 100mph is a sub-2000rpm dawdle, but really, how many gears do you need?

Of course it also has active suspension, active rev matching and all manner of other high-tech assistance, and this is where my problem lies: It actually felt like someone else was driving the car. It seemed as though there was steering and throttle input coming from sources unseen, and I didn't like it one bit. Now I don't consider myself a world-class driver, and I appreciate that computer technology in a car can improve the driving characteristics, but it can also detract from the experience. I felt like it had been idiot-proofed.

Description: Illuminated by innovative digital features and intelligent driver controls, the Stingray cockpit is a stunning change from your typical interior scenery. An ingenious available color Head-Up Display complements the customizable dual display featuring two 8-inch screens. A sweeping freeform line spans the instrument panel and flawlessly carries over into the door trim and console. And every inch is imbued with a deep respect for authentic materials. Real aluminium. Available carbon fiber. Grade A leather hand-selected and crafted to adorn a new generation of elegance.

Illuminated by innovative digital features and intelligent driver controls, the Stingray cockpit is a stunning change from your typical interior scenery. An ingenious available color Head-Up Display complements the customizable dual display featuring two 8-inch screens. A sweeping freeform line spans the instrument panel and flawlessly carries over into the door trim and console. And every inch is imbued with a deep respect for authentic materials. Real aluminium. Available carbon fiber. Grade A leather hand-selected and crafted to adorn a new generation of elegance.

Yes, the car is blindingly fast, can handle just about any road surface with aplomb and without the crashing and banging you'd expect from such a low-slung car even on British road surfaces. It is doubtless a world-class GT, but not one that requires a driver of even above-average ability. Later in the day, I had a chance to drive a late C3 Corvette that had seen some life. It was noisy, hot, not as comfortable or anywhere near as quick, the suspension crashed over the slightest bump, and the wind whistled through every gap it could find. It was an absolute dinosaur by comparison, yet it was so much more of an experience. Now, if I took the LT1 from the C7 and dropped it into the C3?

 

 
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